Still doing research on how to grow medlar from seeds, I came across an old German book on GoogleBooks called Abhandlung von Bäumen, Stauden und Sträuchern, welche in Frankreich in freyer Luft erzogen werden (= Treatise About Trees, Shrubs and Bushes which have been grown outdoors in France) from 1763. This was translated from a book by a Monsieur Duhamel du Monceau. If anyone prefers the French version…
As all the message boards and Wikipedia articles seem to quote each other, I thought it a good idea to bring a new source into the discussion, especially one from a time when medlars where much better known than today. I will try and translate it from the German.
First, he names 22 types of Medlars (Mespilus spinosa, Mespilus silvestris etc.). He writes “Mespilus germanicus […] sive Mespilus silvestris”, so this is the same for him.
All types of Mespilus can be grown from seeds. Those which grow in the woods can be grown into plants which are then transferred nursery. If one wants to sow medlar trees, one has to know that the seeds often germinate only in the second year. Therefore, some people put the ripe fruits into pots or boxes filled with soil in autumn, put those in a cool place or outdoors. Or they dig the pots two or three shoes deep into the soil, let them rest there for a year and only take them out in spring the next year, to sow them on patches, where the seeds germinate quickly.
We have found that when one takes the ripe fruits in September and puts them in layers with soil and sows them in sherds [???, maybe clay pots] and puts those into the dung patch, the seeds will germinate in the first spring already, which is quite useful in a species that rare.
One can also breed the mespilus by cuttings and the rarer types by grafting onto more common types.
All types of Mespilus are tolerate just about any type of soil except very dry soil in which they wither.
He then goes on to recommend planting them under oak and chestnut trees, because the taller trees profit from the medlar covering the ground. That might be interesting for fans of permaculture.